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US: Florence, SC – Go Nuts for Pecans in Florence and Snag some Free Swag

April is National Pecan month so why not celebrate by following a culinary trail dedicated to the pecan.

Julie Belle's - White Russian Pecan PieFlorence is home to the South Carolina Pecan Trail, showcasing 17 local restaurants and specialty shops offering pecan dishes or products, putting pecans in the spotlight. From pecan-encrusted grouper to pecan pie martinis, those venturing on the trail will experience a variety of originality.Rebel Pie - Danish Pizza

Pick up a passport at the visitors center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, or any of the participating restaurants to start the journey. Earn a stamp in the passport by feasting on the featured pecan item at each establishment.

Pecan Pie Martini - Victors

Return your passport to the Visitors Center in person or by mail for some sweet Pecan Trail swag. Show up with four stamps, and receive a charming metal nutcracker. Eight stamps will get you a drawstring bag and the nutcracker. Present a fully stamped passport and  walk away with a T-shirt, drawstring bag and the nutcracker. SC Pecan Trail

 

Get your stamps and enjoy tasty pecan offerings at these restaurants and specialty shops:

Block and Vino: Seasonal praline pecan cheesecake; candied pecan brie-stuffed chicken

Clay Pot Coffee Shop: Signature BIG cookie: Southern Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookie

Dolce Vita: Double chocolate chip pecan muffin

Freeman’s Bakery: Assortment of baked goods, including cakes, Danish pastries

Julian Belle’s: White Russian pecan pie

The Library: Bourbon pecan pie

Rebel Pie Wood-fired Pizza: Danish pizza

Red Bone Alley: Chicken salad with pecans; apple crisp; chocolate chip cookie pie

Seminar Brewing: Pecans Gone Wild smoked brown ale

Struttin’ Turkey: Turkey salad with cranberries and pecans

Top Hat Special-Teas: Top Hat Pecan Scones

Town Hall: Braised oxtail ravioli, local sweet potato puree, espelette-spiced pecans and sage oil

Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish Co.: Sweet potato cheesecake

Venus Restaurant and Catering: Pecan (Belgian) waffle, Southern pecan pancakes

Victors: Pecan pie martini

Wholly Smokin’: Goat cheese salad, features warm goat cheese patty encrusted with local pecans

Young Plantations: Variety of flavored pecans

Location: Visitor Information Center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, Florence Center Upper Level, Florence, SC 29501
Time: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 800-325-9005
visitflo.com

US: DeLand, FL – Bacon-lovers Won’t Want to miss this Sizzling Event

The word is out pig lovers won’t want to miss this one: the  DeLand Bacon and Brew Fest. Who does not like Bacon or Beer, a match made in heaven. There will be approximately 125 food and beverage vendors, variety of live music, and the event will play homage to all things bacon with a wide variety of bacon dishes, along with bacon-related and bacon inspired contests.DeLand Bacon Fest Bacon Costume

Imagine bacon, craft beer, wineries, and lots of vendors with their products. Indulge in mouth watering bacon-y deliciousness. You could buy bacon or beer jam, bacon-stuffed pretzels, sample bacon cupcakes, and purchase chocolate covered bacon—that’s just for starters. Many of the regular market vendors spiked their production line to include bacon in some way, whether in fudge, a cheese dip, or a cinnamon roll—or in one of 14 different varieties of bacon itself. Bacon Eating Contest at 2pm.Deland Bacon Fest Bacon Eating ContestDeLand Bacon Fest Group

A portion of the proceeds will go to The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, so bring on the bacon!

 

 

Location: Earl Brown Park, 750 S Alabama Ave, DeLand, FL 32724
Date: Sat, Sept 30
Time: 1 – 7pm
Tel: 386-316-2959
baconandbrewfestdeland.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:daytonabeach.com
visitnsbfl.com

US: Kennedyville, MD – Have a Grape Stomping Good Time at CrowFest 2017

Located in the rural heart of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the family-owned  Crow Vineyard & Winery will be holding their 3rd annual CrowFest. It celebrates the bounty of the Eastern Shore and the beginning of the harvesting of their grapes on Sunday, September 10, 2017 from 11 – 5PM.CrowFest Adults grapes2017-08-08_8-28-36

Spend the day enjoying the award winning Crow wines and the talents of additional Eastern Shore vendors.  The event includes wine tastings, live music provided by Phil Dutton and the Alligators, food samplings, local vendors, cooking demonstrations, seminars, grape stomping (who wouldn’t love to stomp on grapes), hayrides through the vineyards and  numerous children’s activities.

Local vendors will include: Painted Sky Alpaca Farm, Barrel Smith Designs, Beachin’ Glass, Melting Down Creations, Chainsaw Carving by Josh, and local food offerings from Haass’ Family Butcher Food Truck, Kilby Ice Cream MooTruck, Orchard Point Oyster Co., Chester River Aronia, Nolia Chocolates, Oksana’s Produce Farm, Red Acres Lettuce, and Lockbriar Farms.Alligator Band - CrowFest2017-08-08_8-25-28

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here. Crow Vineyard2017-08-08_8-27-08

Location: Crow Vineyard & Winery, 12441 Vansant Corner Rd, Kennedyville 21645
Date: Sun, Sept 10, 2017
Time: 11 – 5pm
Tel: 302-304-0551
crowvineyardandwinery.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: kentcounty.com

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US: Skippers, VA – Good Earth Peanuts are Virginia Peanuts at their Best

Virginia grows the largest variety of peanuts in the world. The Good Earth Peanut Company ships Virginia peanuts fresh in a variety of forms: raw and cooked, in and out of the shell. Sitting right on a 1650’s Tuscarora Indian trail which is now a railroad junction, in an old time (circa 1854) general store, this family business roasts and sells peanuts.IMG_3539

Lindsey and Scott Vincent go beyond the ordinary nut to sell cashew brittle, wasabi flavored peas, nut berry thrill, diet trail mix, cracked pepper and sea salt peanuts, chocolate covered peanut brittle (Sandra’s favorite) and maple covered nuts, as well as pecans like key lime ones (we’re addicted to the butter toasted pecans in our salads).

There are FREE tastes of the 36 or so salty and sweet treats. We’ll take the dark chocolate
covered cherries. Some groceries still line the walls, like McCutcheon’s preserves and Virginia hams.IMG_3538

You’ve gotta stop here, you won’t be disappointed, the quality and the assortment are amazing. You can even order them on-line and have them shipped to you. They will  include information about the history of peanuts, also known as goobers and groundnuts, and how peanuts are grown.  WARNING: These products are addictive!

Location: The Good Earth Peanut Company,  5334 Skippers Road, Skippers, Va 23879
Hours: Mon – Fri 8-6pm, Sat 9-4pm
Tel: 1-800-643-1695
goodearthpeanuts.com

Canada – Ontario Weekend Getaway: Low Fat Donuts, Fair Trade Coffee, Chainsaws and Friendly Alpacas

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Why not get away with your family to Almonte, ON, just west of Ottawa . The very first reason is that Ed Atwell of Healthy Food Technologies (hft) has figured out how to make low-fat donuts that are scrumptious. He “tricks” the donuts by frying them (in zero trans fat oil) for 1/2 the time and then baking them at the same temperature. Watch the video to see him explain the process he invented.

Now take a walk around the corner and pick up your to-go-with coffee at fair trade high quality Equator Coffee Roasters. They roast the beans right there, having bought them from small-scale farming communities and paid the farmers well. Do not  miss the Oh-so-Canadian maple-flavored latte. It’s worth driving there just for that! Kids can enjoy the hot chocolate.coffee


Next you can pick up snacks for the car or yummies to take home at Dandelion Foods co-op before a 45 min. drive to Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp. D
andelion Foods co-op sells whole, local and organic foods and some for specialty diets. Here you can buy the famous Hummingbird chocolate bars favored by Prime Minister Trudeau. Note the PB & Joy (with peanut butter) and the spicy Mayan.  Please bring back the Empire Cheese caramelized onion cheddar cheese for me.
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For lunch and fun, at Wheelers Pancake House you can visit the Maple Museum and the Chainsaw & Logging museum and the kids can have fun in the playground. Handy men and women will be mesmerized by Mark Wheeler’s dad Vernon’s collection of hundreds of chainsaws. Everyone will enjoy his “largest collection of pure maple syrup artifacts” which help explain the history of the maple sugar industry. From First Nations wooden spigots to the plastic lines of today, syrup pour-ers, molds, pails, and everything else related to this sweet topic, it’s all here at this 38-year family business. Don’t forget to leave room for the freshly made pancakes and delicious syrup right from their trees.
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For the grand finale, we visited Keith and Elizabeth Adam’s alpacas and llamas at their  Serendipity Farm. For retirement they decided to raise alpacas for the fun of it. The couple exudes their enjoyment of spending their golden years with these elegant, fluffy friends. They’ll chatter about the little quirks of each of the animals as well as the work associated with raising them.

Alpacas produce fiber that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer than sheep’s wool, while also wicking moisture away from the body.alpacas
In their little shop you can buy scarves, gloves, purses, as well as fiber felted sheets, alpaca and fiber rovings and handspun yarn.

Leave some time too for the local shops which wind their way along the downtown streets. Yes there’s plenty to do in Lanark County for a low-key interesting getaway weekend. We are not sure how this area attracted so many hippie/free trade/entrepreneurial types who seem to care for the planet. You can feel virtuous spending time and money in this town.

Equator Coffee Roasters, 451-A Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0, Tel: 613-256-5960
www.equator.ca

Dandelion Foods, 541 Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0,  Tel: 1-613-256-4545
www.dandelionfoods.ca

Healthy Food Technologies, 25 Industrial Rd., Almonte ON  Tel: 613-256-9900
(HFT) https://www.facebook.com/HFTinc

Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp, 1001 Highland Line, McDonalds Corners(Lanark Highlands), ON K0G 1M0 Tel: 613-278-2090
www.wheelersmaple.com

Serendipity Farm Alpacas & Llamas,  929 South Lavant Rd, Lanark, ON K0G1K0  Tel: 613-259-3304 or 613-222-6303
www.serendipityalpacas.ca

www.lanarkcounty.ca

 

US: Annapolis, MD – Binge on Chocoholic Sushi with Chocolate Martinis at Annapolis Festival

Under the warm glow of lights you’ll be served a FREE toasty cup of hot chocolate while you enjoy listening to music. Indulge in some family-fun, there is something for everyone including shopping, art, drinks, food,  prizes, and fun for kids of all ages and did I mention chocolate.

Take a chocolate tour along West Street with a dozens of vendors selling various chocolate specialties , including chocolate caramels, bars, truffles, fudge, cookies, rice crispies, fondue, chocolate fountain, candy apples, chocolate sushi, and even chocolate martinis. Chocoholics, get ready to binge!

Entertainment includes: Moon Bounce,  Balloon Sculptures, Face Painting, Meet Santa, McGruff the crime fighting dog, and Sparky the fire department dog, Music performances,  Comedy,  Ugly Sweater Contest, holiday shopping, the lighting of the West Street Light Canopy. You can roast marshmallows and make s’mores at the fire pit in the middle of West Street sponsored by the Annapolis Fire Department.

Chocolate, holiday vendors, music, family friendly entertainment and holiday light canopy. All this makes for a great street party in Annapolis. Support the local arts and and We Care and Friends . Suggested $5 donation to the Annapolis Arts District-Kids are free with a paid parent donation.

Location: West St and Calvert St (Intersection) ,Annapolis, MD 21401
Date: Sun, Dec 4th, 2016
Time: noon-5pm
Tel: 410-858-5884
annapolischocolatefestival.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitannapolis.org

US: Savannah, GA – Go Hog Wild for Savannah’s Bacon Fest

Get ready, bacon lovers because it’s the 3rd annual Savannah Bacon Fest, celebrating the awesomeness of bacon, returns to River Street from Sept. 2-3.

Local restaurants will be serving up some mouthwatering bacon creations at their booths all festival long.  Some of the items to look forward to are: candied baconchocolate egg with bacon, bacon popcornbacon brownies, pork belly lollypops, and smoked bacon wrapped jalapenos. Anatomy of the Baby Back Rib

Bacon Lovers unite on Historic River Street. The fest starts on with First Friday fireworks at 9:30 pm.  The pork filled festivities will continue on Saturday with loads of bacon, bacon inspired art and bacon products of every kind, regional artist booths, entertainment and family fun. Admission is Free.

Location: Rousakis Riverfront Plaza, 115 East River Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Date: Sept 02 – 03, 2016
Time: Fri 4-10pm, Sat 10-10pm
Tel: 912-234-0295
riverstreetsavannah.com/event/bacon-fest-2
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitsavannah.com

 

Canada: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Messy Chocolate Truffles s

I just made these chocolate truffles, almost from scratch, at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Messy, but I got to lick my spoon and my fingers.

Fortress Chocolate Truffles

Canada: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Chief Engineer

Etienne Verrier was chief engineer for Fortress Louisbourg from 1725 to 1745 and lived here, in one of the most imposing homes. The military engineers were town planners, architects and construction engineers. They laid out the streets, planned the fortifications, designed all the colony’s public buildings and influenced military tactics in the sieges. He was wealthy enough to be able to serve cocoa to his guests. A pound of cocoa cost the same as a pair or shoes. The cocoa was served hot with spices and sugar and was used medicinally and for warmth and strength.

Fortress Etienne Verrier

Canada: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – Chocolate for the Wealthy

Chocolate was hugely expensive in the 18th century and a pound would cost the same as a pair of shoes. You had to be wealthy to be able to serve cocoa to guests. the cocoa was served hot with spices and sugar and was used medicinally and for warmth and strength. Both women and men drank it. Ladies thought it was energizing. More than two centuries later, I think we still agree about that.

Fortress Chocolate